The 4 Best Non-Bonus Category Everyday Spending Credit Cards

everyday spending credit card

If you collect points and miles, chances are that you have several different credit cards, for several different spending categories. A great card for everything dining and travel related would be the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve for instance, earning 2x or 3x points in those categories, respectively. As of late, the Amex Platinum has become my go-to card for airline tickets, earning me 5x points when purchased directly with the airline or through the Amex Travel Portal. There are also several great cards for gas and grocery purchases and then you have cards with a quarterly rotating bonus category, such as the Chase Freedom, earning 5x points at grocery stores and pharmacies this quarter. But for the times you find yourself in a convenience store, a department store, or simply shopping abroad, you need a good everyday spending credit card to cover that non-bonus category purchase.

everyday spending credit card

The 4 Best Everyday Spending Credit Cards


1. Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited (CFU) is my number one non-bonus category spending card. When the card was released last year, it quickly became one of the most important additions to Chase’s arsenal of credit cards. I, personally, was very excited when the card was announced, because it ensured I would never earn fewer than 1.5x points on domestic purchases again. Literally a dream come true for points collectors.The CFU currently offers:

  • 1.5x points on all purchases, no limit
  • No annual fee
  • $150 bonus after spending $500 or more within 3 months
  • Another $25 bonus when adding an authorized user within 3 months and making a purchase

Just like the Chase Freedom, the CFU is technically a cash back credit card. But if you have a Chase Premium card, such as the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, that cash back can be converted into Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That means, if you have the latter of the two, points earned with the CFU are worth up to 3.15 cents each.


2. Starwood Preferred Guest American Express

The Amex SPG credit card was my first rewards credit card. I got this card before I even fully understood the value of points and miles. I didn’t even know that American Express would waive the annual fee for service members, or what the SCRA benefits even were. But I’m so glad I got this card, because it is truly a gem in the credit card world.

  • 25,000 bonus Starpoints after spending $3,000 within 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $0 introductory fee the first year, $95 thereafter (waived with SCRA)
  • Complimentary Boingo premium Wifi access worldwide
  • 2x Starpoints at SPG, Marriott or Ritz-Carlton Properties, 1x Starpoints everywhere else
  • Primary rental car coverage
  • Dozens of airline transfer partners
  • 5,000 bonus points for every 20,000 points transferred

Yes, you only earn 1x points at non SPG, Marriott or Ritz-Carlton purchases, but with Starpoints, it’s quality over quantity. No other rewards program has nearly as many transfer partners and the 5,000 extra points are equally unique. I value Starpoints at 2.5 cents each, making them incredibly valuable. Since the CFU charges foreign transaction fees, I use my Amex SPG for all my non-bonus category purchases when I’m abroad. I also relied heavily on this card last November, when American Express ran its Shop Small Promo, awarding an extra point per dollar at local merchants participating in the program.

everyday spending credit card

3. American Express Everyday Preferred 

The American Express Everyday Preferred card is one of Amex’s lesser known powerhouses:

  • 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within 3 months
  • 3x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 annually
  • 2x points at US gas stations
  • 1x points everywhere else
  • 50 percent bonus points after making 30 purchases in a billing period
  • $95 annual fee (waived with SCRA)

Again, only 1x points on everyday purchases, but the 50 percent bonus on 30 or transactions changes everything, and can make this card extremely valuable as an everyday spending credit card. The only downside to this card is that it charges a foreign transaction fee. The current 20,000 point sign-up bonus is a current promo and will likely not last forever. The usual bonus is 15,000 points.


4. Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash credit card is not only a tremendous balance transfer card, but also a great everyday spending credit card. You earn 1 percent cash back when making the transaction, and another 1 percent when paying the bill. This gives you a total of 2 percent cash back on all purchases. It charges no annual fee, but does impose a foreign transaction fee.


Bottom Line

With today’s vast selection of rewards credit cards, we can truly maximize every dollar that we spend. It doesn’t even have to be too complicated. A solid 3 or 4 credit cards in our inventory, and we can ensure to always earn enough points towards that next vacation. In addition, we can double or even triple dip on points on many of our purchases.

What is your favorite everyday spending credit card?